Why Halal Food Is Good For Everyone
Within the Muslim community, halal is used to describe what is permissible both in food and in actions. We typically associate halal with food, as do many non-Muslims. For purposes of this article, we explore why halal food, specifically meat and poultry, is good for everyone.
I grew up devouring literature with information on eating right and living healthy. When I became a Muslim nearly ten years ago, I was excited to learn about the guidelines set forth in the Quran as it relates to what a Muslim should and should not eat.
In the process, I realized that I was fortunate enough to develop health-conscious eating habits early on in life that morphed into actions related to food consumption in accordance with Islam.
It was quickly obvious to me that the two went hand in hand.
Halal For A Healthier World
As a food writer and blogger, I keep up with the latest news and trends on the U.S. and international food scenes on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are more and more instances in which food is contaminated and people sickened from preventable issues related to food safety and sanitation in both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
Also unfortunate is the rising number of preventable diseases related to over-consumption.
Alhamdullilah, there is a growing movement in the U.S. to revolutionize how and what we eat. First Lady Michelle Obama, celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, and well-known food writers such as Michael Pollan and Alice Waters are heading up this movement through books, documentaries and lectures across the country.
Because of this push to educate the masses, many people are not only reading labels but demanding to know the source of their food. They want to know what the animals are eating and how they are living, the kind of air they are breathing and what, if anything is being injected into their bodies. They are visiting farms, talking to farmers, insisting on organic products, or at least those that are all natural and not sprayed or injected with harmful pesticides, toxins or artificial growth hormones.
How does halal food fit into this parameter?
Halal encompasses more than just meat, or even the type of meat eaten, although it is the most discussed type of product consumed.
For an animal to go from farm to table as halal food, it must have lived a pure life from the very beginning, finishing a cycle of life that is permissible in accordance with Islamic standards. It must have eaten well, been treated well, and been sacrificed well. It may sound good in theory, but what does this all mean?
The Life Of The Animal
As an animal should be treated well during its life, it should also be treated well at the time it is sacrificed for us. The slaughter should never be done in the presence of other animals and the animal should be made comfortable as it is positioned for the sacrifice. The act of the sacrifice should be done with a sharp object, so as to accelerate the process and reduce the pain suffered by the animal as much as possible.*
Afterwords, the blood should be completely drained from the animal. It is the blood that carries toxins, germs and bacteria and when left inside the body of the animal, could potentially make people sick. At the very least, it could make the cooked meat quite tough. An amazing result of cooking and consuminghalal meat is a healthy meat in which the resulting texture is tender and the meat delicious. Some people say they can “taste the difference”.
Treating One\'s Body Wells Is A Good Thing
On the flip side of halal is the haram (impermissible). The most commonly known haram consumables are alcohol and pork (and their by-products), both of which are the cause of numerous health issues. (This is backed by scientific data.) Although these two products themselves could constitute their own essay, for purposes of this article they are only briefly mentioned here.
Instead of seeing the impermissible as a closed door on food choices, one can embrace an entire world of exciting, delicious and healthy variety of foods. Islam enjoins us to treat our bodies well as it has a right over us and will testify against us on the Day of Judgment for any injustices we may have caused it during our lifetime.
Treating our bodies with wholesome foods free of harmful ingredients — pesticides, toxins, pollutants, filth, etc. — is not just a value desired by Muslims, it’s desired by all of humanity. It’s a common need, a common desire and a common right, and that means everyone can benefit from consuming halal foods and avoiding what is not.
What is in Our Food…? Is It Permissible?
By Syed Farhatullah Quadri, Ph.D., Mariam Majeed, and Mujahed Khan; Food Scientists, IFANCA
As Muslims, we are constantly striving for perfection in all facets of life. As a result, we are constantly trying to gain knowledge so that we may further progress. The reality is that while we aim to perfect our relationships, our roles at work, and our habits as students, we sometimes fail to realize that there is a catalyst that will help facilitate this quest for perfection, and that is food. While our bodies are nourished by the food we consume, our souls too are nourished by the permissibility and purity of that same food. Those who strive to consume only that which is halal (lawful) and tayyib (pure) are blessed with their bodies striving towards that which is halal and tayyib. As a result, as Muslims, we need to make a conscious effort to answer the question, \"is what we buy and consume everyday really halal?\"
IFANCA, an internationally recognized halal certifying organization, is staffed by a qualified scholars, technical staff and administrators. It is registered as a not-for-profit organization in Illinois and is recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several halal regulatory agencies in countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the UAE. During the last three decades, IFANCA has certified thousands of products and ingredients, including processed food; meat products; pharmaceuticals; nutraceuticals and cosmetics for more than 2,200 companies world-wide.
The mission of the Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) is to promote the concept of halal and educate Muslims regarding mashbooh (doubtful) ingredients, including those that are present in food; nutritional supplements; pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
IFANCA serves the Muslim community worldwide by conducting conferences and seminars, responding to consumer and industrial inquiries about ingredients and products and assisting correctional facilities to establish partial halal kitchens in the prisons to satisfy the dietary needs of Muslim inmates. IFANCA has recently resumed educational workshops and presentations in various Islamic institutions in the Chicagoland area and will soon offer these services to neighboring cities and states. The focus of these presentations is to create awareness of the permissibility of foods. A description of the important points will be discussed in the paper below. Readers are also encouraged to visit http://www.ifanca.org and http://www.halal.com frequently for the current information about certified products and halal news and resources. Furthermore, if you are interested in organizing an informational session in your local community please contact IFANCA.
Responsibility Of Muslims:
Our main goal is to please ALLAH (Subhanahu wa ta\'ala) alone by obeying HIS commands on all matters including issues of halal and haram, as well as following the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam). Several verses of the Noble Quran have been revealed regarding food. A quick look at a few verses allows us to see the importance HE has put on the consumption of food: \"O you who believe! Eat of the good things from what WE have provided you, and render thanks to ALLAH if it is HE whom you worship.\" (2:172)
\"O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome in the Earth, and follow not the foot-steps of the devil. Lo! he is an open enemy for you.\" (2:168)
\"O you who believe! Forbid not the good things which ALLAH has made \'lawful\' for you and transgress not. Lo! ALLAH loves not transgressors. Eat of that which ALLAH has bestowed on you as food \'lawful\' and good, and keep your duty to ALLAH in whom you are believers.\" (5:87-88)
There are many more verses in the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam) that speak about other aspects of halal and haram. We should look into such commandments and understand them for our own betterment.
Currently there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and the number is increasing, particularly in the major metropolitan cities across the U.S. In other published reports, it is quoted that the global halal food trade market is about $150 billion with the Muslim buying-power at about $600 billion. In the US alone, the buying-power of Muslims is about $20 billion strong. These figures are very promising. More information can be found in the May 25, 2009 issue of TIME magazine. Because of the efforts of some organizations, various states have passed the Halal Food Act in their legislation. The bill was signed into law in New Jersey in 2000, Illinois and Minnesota in 2001, California and Michigan in 2002, Texas in 2003, and New York in 2005. Insha’ALLAH many more will follow. As the number of Muslims and halal consumers continues to grow, we are seeing more American companies extending their halal certification from export products to domestic ones. We are also seeing increased marketing of halal-certified imported products. This is also likely due to the increased feedback and strong support from halal consumers to companies demanding halal certified products.
There are various kinds of ingredients found on the labels of products we buy. Some of them are simple or single components, like salt, sugar and water. Others are complex or compound, such as colorings, cheese powder, flavorings, seasonings, shortening, spices etc. On some labels we see the ingredients are listed by their functions, such as antioxidants; emulsifiers; preservatives; supplements and thickeners to name a few. Sometimes the questionable ingredients such as alcohol; enzymes; fats and gelatin are not clearly listed but are hidden in flavorings; cheese, gums and ice cream. As Muslims we should know if the ingredients we see on the label are halal, since they could be obtained from animal, plant, microbial, or synthetic sources. A list of such items is given below for a quick reference and can be copied and carried along for shopping convenience.
Classification Of Foods:
Halal - We all know very well the terms halal and haram and have a clear idea about the food items we consume. For Muslims the Halal or permissible items are:
All vegetable materials except intoxicating ones
The meat from humanely-handled halal animals and birds slaughtered by a sane Muslim after pronouncing Bismillah and ALLAHu Akbar, followed by blood draining
Fish and most seafood
Milk and eggs from halal animals
Haram - Alhamdulillah, we have a very clear understanding of the haram foods, and we all refrain from consuming items such as:
Alcoholic drinks and intoxicating drugs
Pork and its by-products
Meat of dead animal
Meat of animals not slaughtered according to Islamic requirements
Products that contain any of the above items
Mashbooh - For all Muslims, this group of consumables consists of ingredients that are doubtful or questionable and it causes us to stop and ponder whether we can use them or not. IFANCA provides you with the information that will take the \"doubt\" out of these doubtful items. When a consumer sees an ingredient listed in the tables below titled \"Mashbooh (Questionable) Food Items\", \"Hidden Ingredients\", \"Ingredients by Functions\", and \"Halal Shoppers Guide\", e.g. Animal fat or proteins; Antioxidants; Dairy products; Emulsifiers; Enzymes; Flavorings; Gelatin; Glycerin and Vitamins, he or she should immediately think of its probable source and verifying it by calling the manufacturer. All such items are derived either from animal, plant, microbial or synthetic sources. If it comes from an animal source, then we need to know if the animal was halal and if so, was it slaughtered properly or not. If yes or if the source is plant or certified-microbial, then alhamdulillah, we can eat it.
Solutions & Suggestions:
It is every Muslim consumer\'s responsibility to be conscientious of what he/she does, whether it be the consumption of food, nutritional supplements, pharmaceuticals or cosmetics items, and to please ALLAH (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) by following HIS commandments.
Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
The Halal Science Center is an instructional center and network of laboratories in Thailand dedicated to maintaining the standards of Halal, an Arabic term which designates acceptable objects or actions in Islam and is frequently used in reference to allowed foods. It is the primary network dedicated to Halal science in Thailand and, according to the Malaysian Halal Journal, who gave it a Best Innovation in Halal Industry award in 2006, \"the first dedicated Halal Science institution in the world.\"
The Halal Science Center analyzes food for contaminants not compatible with the law of Islam and conducts research into new methods of food preparation and new reagents for detecting such contaminants. It also provides information and training to the public and to the food service industry related to the preparation of food in accordance with Islamic law, including offering a bachelor\'s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
The Center began as the Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development (Halal-CELSIC) at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on August 13, 2003, under grant by the Cabinet of Thailand. Subsequently, Halal-CELSIC established laboratories in over ten other universities and institutions before reorganizing into the Halal Science Center.
In 2006, the organization received an award for Best Innovation in Halal Industry from Halal Journal. The award was presented by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur.
Thailand\'s Halal Foods:
Muslims, recognized in their faith and fidelity in Islam religion, share a majority proportion in more than 1.8 billions of the world populations. The combination of diverse races and ethnic founded the Muslim Communities residing in different 50 countries or more worldwide. In response to the Policy that Thailand aims to be \"the Kitchen of the World\", Halal foods or permitted foods for Muslims then become the key success means towards such goal. The foremost priority role is to focus on standardization and upliftment of the high standard quality of Thai Halal Foods to be in accordance with Islamic law and Codex Standard, as all Thai Halal products must acquire the certification of nutrition, hygiene, as well as qualified export quality standard.
The first Halal Science Center:
On August 13th, 2003 The Royal Thai Cabinet granted the budget allocated for the establishment of the Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development (Halal-CELSIC) at the Faculty of the Allied Health Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, as the core Halal science network of the country. This Halal-CELSIC, to date, has expanded its linkages in more than 10 laboratories based in several universities and institutions throughout the country. Halal-CELSIC, later, in collaboration with scientists from several faculties of Chulalongkorn University succeedingly concurred to establish the newly formed \"Halal Science Center\" (HSC) of Chulalongkorn University resuming all tasks and responsibilities from Halal-CELSIC.
Mission of \"Halal Science Center\" (HSC):
Establishing of Halal laboratories fully equipped with modern and high standard analytical and preparative scientific devices.
Providing analytical services for detection of any contamination\'s against Islamic law (Haram and Najis) in raw materials, and finished products supplied for Halal Food market
Conducting Research and development on new methodologies, product innovation as well as reagent kits exploitable for Halal food verification.
Preparing lists of chemicals, raw materials and products as to accommodate Halal food manufacturers and consumers.
Servicing Web Site providing essential scientific information and networks to Halal food manufacturers and consumers.
Providing supports related to scientific matters for the Institute for Halal Food Standard and lslamic organizations involving the certification of Halal foods, as may required.
Providing counsels for Halal food manufacturers and restaurants in utilizing Halal-GMP/HACCP/ISO 22000/QHS.
Providing training program in Halal science for manufacturers, consumers and the publics.
HSC, well-equipped with modern and advanced scientific devices including LC/MS/MS, GS/MS, HPLC, GC, ICP, AA, FTIR, UC, Realtime-PCR etc specifically provides all analytical services and research for detection of contamination detrimental to Halal food manufacturing, e.g. animal fatty acids, animal proteins/DNA, gelatin, alcohol, microbial contamination, etc.
The staffs of HSC consist of scientists with Ph.D. and Master degrees in biochemistry, food and nutrition, pharmaceutical science and medical technology, professionally handling laboratory analysis, researches and consultative provisions in Halal food standards so as in establishment of Halal GMP/HACCP as well as Halal-QHS/ISO 22000 to the food manufacturers, restaurants, and other food service industries.
HSC is responsible in sales and distribution of all books on Halal GMP/HACCP written or published by its notable scientist staffs in conjunction with the National Food Institute, Ministry of Industry.
HSC, in cooperation with The Faculty of the Allied Health Science, offers the Bachelor program in Nutrition and Dietetics as to produce the best qualified and well trained Graduates specialized in Halal food standard, food manufacturing and food certification.
Team Members: The Halal Science Center
Assoc.Prof.Winai Dahlan, Ph.D. (Biochemistry/Applied Medical Biology)
Assoc. Prof. Ekarin Saifa, Ph.D. (Pharmacy)
Assoc.Prof.Jongjit Angkatavanich, B.Sc.(Pharmacy), M.S. (Nutrition)
Asst.Prof.Rommanee Sanguandeekul, Ph.D. (Food Technology)
Asst.Prof. Sumet Tantratien, Ph.D. (Food Technology)
Asst.Prof. Vanida Nopponpunth, Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
Asst.Prof. Somnuke Gulsatitporn, Ph.D. candidate (Biomedical Sciences)
Tipayanate Ariyapitipan , Ph.D. (Food Technology)
Siriporn Saengsuthum, Ph.D. candidate (Biomedical Sciences)
Sirichai Adisakwattana PhD. (Pharmacology), B.Sc. (Chemistry)
Suwimol Sapwarobol Dr.Ph. (Nutrition) MS (Pharmacology)
Prasersri Tunglertsumphan B.Sc. (Medical Technology)
Jamrieng Vichitchan Diploma (Marketing)
Nureesun Samaluka B.Sc. (Food Technology)
Sirinya Pongpayak B.I.S. (Information Management)
Niramon Sulongkood B.Sc. (Environmental Health)
Monrudee Hhemtham, B.Sc. (Food Science & Technology)
Khorima Sahad-e-tam B.Sc. (Food Science & Nutrition)
Prawid Sadraman B.Sc. (Food science and Technology)
Nuraya Ruksamanee B.A. (Human Sciences)
Praween Prapertchob B.Sc.(Agro-Industry)
Suriyana daraman B.E (Human Science)
Piyanart Lorprayoon B Sc.(Biotechnology)
Wanwisa Armeen B Sc.(Biotechnology)
Darunee pachee Bachelor of Business Administration (Management)
Niraporn Sulongkood B.I.S. (Information Management)
The Halal Science Center
Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS)
The Malaysia International Halal Showcase or MIHAS is an annual trade fair organised by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) and managed by Shapers Malaysia (formerly Indah Profiles), as MIHAS Secretariat. It aims to facilitate the sourcing and selling of quality halal products and services globally.
MIHAS first started in 2004, is typically held in April in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the event runs for four days. For the past few years, the event is held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
MIHAS was founded by Shapers Malaysia in 2004 and in 2008, ownership of this Halal event was transferred to the Malaysian government under the auspices of the Malaysia External Trade and Development Corporation (MATRADE).
MIHAS was first held in 2004 at the Malaysia International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC), Mines Resort City, Kuala Lumpur. The inaugural event was officiated by the (now former) Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi. That year, there were 330 companies occupying 505 booth spaces from 19 different countries including Malaysia, the country host. MIHAS attracted 17,254 visitors from 42 countries that year.
Incoming Buying Mission (IBM) programme was first introduced during MIHAS 2005. The business matching programme provides one-to-one discussions and business negotiations between buyers and sellers. The first year resulted in a total sales of RM229.9million. The programme has been a staple of MIHAS ever since. In 2012, the business matching sessions yielded a total generated sales of RM340 million (USD110 million).
IBM is wholly organised by MATRADE and it is conducted a day before the trade show. The participants consists of international buyers from all over the globe who are looking to source Halal products.
There are various Activities by Exhibitors throughout the event that include press conference, product briefing, product launching and signing ceremonies, as well as cooking demonstrations on the exhibition floor. These activities are conducted within the exhibition halls, either at the exhibitor booths or the Media Village.
Ummah Foods, UK
Industry chocolate candy manufacturer
Genre halal foods
Founder(s) Khalid Sharif
Headquarters Ilford, Essex, United Kingdom
Area served United Kingdom
Key people Managing Director Khalid Sharif
Products Ummah Caramel Chocolate,
Ummah Orange Chocolate
Employees 5 - 10 People
Ummah Foods established in 2004 is a UK manufacturer of Halal Chocolates. This follows a process where no alcohols, or animals fats are used in the manufacturing process, packaging or ingredients. The company was also given the name CHOCHALAL in the Daily Mirror coverage of Ramadan 2004.
It was founded by its current Managing Director Khalid Sharif and has manufactured two products. A caramel chocolate bar called Ummah Caramel Chocolate, and an Orange Chocolate bar called Ummah Orange Chocolate. The owner has been called the Muslim Willy Wonka in Muslim newspapers and magazines.
It is a community focused company and has supported organisations such as the London Sustainability Exchange and Muslim Youth Helpline.
It was the winner of the Muslim News Awards - Ummul Mu\'minin Khadijah award for excellence in enterprise in 2007.
Muslim Consumer Group, USA
The Muslim Consumer Group (MCG) is a U.S. non-profit organization founded in November 1993 by Syed Rasheeduddin Ahmed, based in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Its goal was to educate Muslims about Halal foods and perform Halal certification, which was not done by any other organization in the United States at that time.
MCG first established its website in 2000 to educate Muslims throughout the world about the Halal status of food ingredients, E-numbers and food products. MCG has written a book, titled A Comprehensive List of Halal Food Products in U.S. and Canadian Supermarkets that lists food products and ingredients that are certified as Halal. MCG also visits mosques and religious centers in the United States to give educational presentations about food products, medicine, cosmetics, and personal care products.
A major breakthrough in R&D was the discovery of the source of L-Cysteine, which was being derived from human hair. Muslim dietary laws do not allow the ingestion of anything that is derived from the human body. It was found that there were several companies that were using this in their baked goods that varied from Naan, which was being supplied to Muslim stores in major U.S. cities, to donuts made by Dunkin\' Donuts. A well known Halal food company, AlSafa uses L-Cysteine in their Chicken Nugget, Chicken Patties, and Chicken Strips. After MCG\'s publication of these findings, the source for the L-Cysteine was changed in a large part to chicken or duck feathers. It has not been confirmed that AlSafa uses chicken or duck feathers.
The H-MCG symbols are used by the Muslim Consumer Group to identify the Halal status of different edible and non-edible consumer products.
Halal Foods International, Singapore
No 5 Upper Aljunied Link #06-05/06
Quartz Industrial Building
HFI MARKETING SDN BHD
Wisma Nufri, No.12C-01
Jalan Yahya Al-Datar
Johor Bahru 80300
Tel: 07-2210333/07-221 0222
Halal Food Company, London, UK
Events Director Noman - firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile: +44 (0)7947 634 484
PR Alexa Perrin - email@example.com
Registered Address Halal Events Ltd
88-90 Hatton Garden